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DATE 2011-12-01

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MESSAGE
DATE 2011-12-17
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: SOPA still scheduled for vote
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Congress to Resume SOPA Hearings Next Week
By Grant Gross, IDG News Dec 17, 2011 2:16 pm

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will continue its
hearing on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Wednesday,
not until after Congress' holiday break, as originally believed.

Late Friday, Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and
committee chairman, scheduled a continuation of the hearing to amend the
bill for this Wednesday at 9 a.m., even though many members of the
committee may be out of town for the holidays. Representative Darrell
Issa, a California Republican and opponent of the bill, tweeted the
hearing announcement late Friday.

At the urging of some SOPA opponents, Smith said Friday he will consider
a hearing or a classified briefing on the bill's impact on
cybersecurity. More than 80 Internet engineers and cybersecurity experts
have raised security concerns about the bill, which would require
Internet service providers and domain name registrars to block the
domain names of foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.

Lamar SmithIt's unclear how Wednesday's hearing will affect any future
hearings on SOPA, which is sponsored by Smith and 31 other lawmakers.

Continuing the markup hearing on Wednesday, when many lawmakers had
planned to be out of Washington, D.C., "demonstrates a clear desire to
continue dodging the questions raised by experts, members, and the
public," said Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge.

This unwillingness to take expert evidence, listen to constituents, or
conduct due diligence in investigating the extraordinary harms risked by
SOPA shows a process divorced from representation, responsibility, and
reality," Siy said in a statement.

Limited Testimony
During Friday's hearing, Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah
Republican, called for both a classified hearing and a public hearing on
the cybersecurity issues. In the lone hearing on SOPA, the committee did
not hear from security experts and Internet engineers, he said.

Jason Chaffetz"We have deep concerns about what this will do to
cybersecurity," Chaffetz said. "I think it would be dangerous for
members on this committee to vote on final passage of this bill without
having at least one hearing and some clarification" on the security impact.

The bill markup, a hearing in which lawmakers offer amendments, which
ran from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, was interrupted twice by votes
on the House floor Friday.

The committee will have about 30 amendments to consider after it resumes
debate on SOPA. Opponents of the bill flooded the committee with
amendments in an effort to slow down the committee's march toward
approval of the legislation.

Opponents of the bill on the Judiciary Committee include Republicans
Chaffetz, Issa, and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, as well as Democrats
Zoe Lofgren of California and Jared Polis of Colorado.

Moderating Amendments Rejected
The committee, on Thursday, voted down about 20 amendments designed to
address concerns from many members of the Internet and digital rights
communities.

Jim SensenbrennerOn Friday, the committee only voted on a couple of
amendments, including one offered by Sensenbrenner that would have
removed provisions in the bill allowing private copyright holders to
seek court orders requiring payment processors and online advertising
networks to stop doing business with websites accused of copyright
infringement. The committee rejected the amendment in a 20-8 vote.

The bill allows the U.S. Department of Justice to seek similar court
orders targeting ad networks and payment processors. The DOJ could also
seek court orders barring search engines from linking to allegedly
infringing sites, requiring domain name registrars to take down the
websites and requiring Internet service providers to block subscriber
access to the sites.

The bill gives the DOJ significant power to target overseas websites
infringing copyright, Sensenbrenner said. "Enforcement should be a law
enforcement function in this area," he said. "We don't give people very
many opportunities to sue everybody in the world when law enforcement
doesn't do what they want them to do."

Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said the right for
copyright holders to seek court orders is a "key provision" of SOPA. "If
you are not going to allow this legal relief, you are severely damaging
the bill," he said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government
for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's
e-mail address is grant_gross-at-idg.com.

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